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China lands first jet on aircraft carrier

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 26th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Chinese officials had announced that they had landed a fighter jet on the deck of an aircraft carrier for the first time. China's "first generation multi-purpose carrier-borne fighter jet or the J-15 completed its first landing on the Liaoning, an aircraft carrier China built using an abandoned Soviet hull. U.S. military officials say it will be a few years before the Liaoning will be fully operational.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Xinhua reported that the J-15's capabilities are comparable to the Russian Su-33 jet and the U.S. F-18. The jet can "carry multi-type anti-ship, air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, as well as precision-guided bombs, the report said.

"It will still take several additional years for China to achieve a minimal level of combat capability for its aircraft carriers," The U.S. military, in its latest annual assessment of China's military capability reported.

According to a People's Daily Online report published in August 2011, the Liaoning will be able to carry 30 J-15 fighter planes and will have a crew of 2,000.

China bought the shell of the carrier, which was then called the Varyag, from Ukraine in 1998. Construction began under the Soviet military before the breakup of the Soviet Union.

The Pentagon report said another carrier, one made from components made in China, may already be under construction and be set to set sail in 2015.

"China likely will build multiple aircraft carriers and associated support ships over the next decade," the U.S. assessment said.

The United States, Britain and Japan launched the first aircraft carriers nearly a century ago. The U.S. Navy, with 11, is the only fleet that currently operates more than one.

In related news, a top scientist involved in the integrated program of China's aircraft carrier died of a heart attack after watching the first ever successful landing of a fighter aircraft on the ship.

It was soon after the landing that, 51-year-old Luo Yuan suffered a heart attack and died. He was the head of production for China's new J-15 fighter jet - designated for the carrier -- China's Shenyang Aircraft Corp. (SAC) confirmed.

Luo had the heart attack while participating in flight landing training for China's first aircraft carrier the Liaoning, around noon on Sunday, according to the obituary notice issued by the SAC, a subsidiary of China's state-owned aircraft maker, the Aviation Industry Corp. of China. He had a heart attack while onboard the carrier, and later died in hospital.

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